Anxiety and Stress: What Is The Difference?

The terms stress and anxiety are used interchangeably by many people, and everyone will experience both at some point in their life. But although stress and anxiety have a lot of similarities, they are actually two distinct conditions and the terms are not synonymous.

Stress

Simply put, stress is your body's response to environmental or situational stressors, such as pressure at work or a troubled relationship. Your body responds to stressors by releasing adrenaline, which results in symptoms of stress such as a racing heartbeat, sweating, and changes in breathing.

Anxiety

Anxiety, on the other hand, occurs for no immediately apparent reason. Anxiety can be brought on by chronic stress, but it is not the result of a particular environmental stressor. Anxiety disorders are characterized by feelings of anxiety that are out of proportion to the situation and/or irrational.

Stress vs. Anxiety

The symptoms of stress and anxiety are largely the same, as in both instances they result from the body's fight-or-flight response kicking in. Stress, however, occurs in response to an outside stressor and is largely a result of feelings of frustration toward the situation. Anxiety occurs without an outside stressor and is characterized by feelings of worry and fearfulness.

Stress can usually be addressed by removing or dealing with the stressor, but anxiety can be more challenging to treat. Most people can cope with ordinary stress and continue to function, while anxiety is more likely to interfere with your ability to handle normal tasks.

A mental health professional can help you determine whether what you're feeling is stress or anxiety, and work with you to develop an appropriate plan of action.

Photo: PxHere

More Articles

Whether being on Facebook makes you anxious depends on your temperament, age, how much time you spend there, and your purpose for being on the...

A recent study on anxiety and exercise found better results with resistance training than with aerobic exercise, despite the fact that most of the...

Making deep emotional connections with family and friends reduces stress, creates happiness, and can actually keep you healthier. In other words,...

Have you ever heard the expression, “A cup of probiotic yogurt a day helps keep anxiety at bay”?

Not likely since it was just made up, but...

What is an Anxiety Disorder? An “anxiety disorder” is an umbrella term that refers to a number of different mental health conditions. While...

More Articles

Cortisol supplements are most often prescribed as a way to treat low adrenal gland function. Cortisol is sometimes referred to as the "stress...

How should this medicine be used?

Paxil or Paroxetine comes as a tablet, suspension, and controlled-release (long-acting) tablet to...

Why is Celexa prescribed?

Celxa or Citalopram, is used to treat depression. Citalopram is in a class of antidepressants (mood elevators)...

Cortisol is often referred to as the "stress hormone", because of your body's levels of cortisol increase in response to stressors. Since cortisol...

Anxiety palpitations may be felt accompanying emotions such as excitement, stress, anxiety or fright. Normally a person is not aware of the...

While many people turn to medication to treat their anxiety, it is not the best or most appropriate choice for everyone. Medication can be very...

If you're contemplating starting medication for an anxiety disorder, you no doubt have discovered that there are literally dozens of prescription...

Controlling stress and anxiety could lead to a reduction in the number of hot or cold flashes. Hot flashes also include sweaty palms. The more...

Over the course of my 14 plus years of having an Anxiety disorder, I have read so much information and learned so many techniques for controlling...

Everyone who has anxiety should have a few breathing techniques in their coping first aid kit.

The regular practice of controlled breathing...

The difference between anxiety and depression isn't as clear as one might initially assume. While they are different disorders with different...

Sometimes emotional distress, such as anxiety, can lead to difficulty swallowing or the fear of choking. Most people might take swallowing for...

There are a number of anti-anxiety medications available, and they can be classified into several different categories of drugs. Not all...

Ativan (available generically as lorazepam) is a powerful anti-anxiety drug in the class of medications known as benzodiazepines. It is a fast-...

How should this medicine be used?

Zoloft or Sertraline comes as a tablet and concentrates to take by mouth. It is usually taken once...